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Robert Goose (1863-1945)  

Barney Wood, told us about his grandfather, Robert Goose, who had made and played dulcimers around the turn of the twentieth century. Goose had been born in Norwich but the family moved to London when he was young. He came back to Norwich and by 1881 was apprenticed to a coach builder, a trade he pursued for the rest of his working life, and which clearly gave him the skills necessary to build dulcimers. He worked for about twenty years in Norwich but by 1901 he had moved to Watford where he lived the rest of his life.

He told his grandson that his own dulcimer had five courses, but those he made for others had three or four. He made them as a hobby - he worked for Scannells making carts. He made a lathe for turning bridges and some of the instruments he made were quite decorative. He sold some to other people. By the time Barney started to take an interest in the dulcimers, Goose was already in his eighties. Barney estimated that Robert Goose was active in making dulcimers between 1880 and 1920 and recalled that he used to sit in his workshop and play and that the lathe and the strips of bridges made on it were still there with other bits and pieces which hadn't been touched for ages. Barney knew that his grandfather had kept a note of ‘hours worked etc. income etc’ relating to his dulcimer making, but the notebook hasn’t turned up yet. Barney's own dulcimer was made by his grandfather and has five strings to a course – the whereabouts of the instrument are currently unknown.



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